David Frum | Sarah Chayes | Masha Gessen | Rep. Adam Schiff | Sen. Jeff Flake | Dahlia Lithwick | Steven Levistsky & David Ziblatt | Kali Holloway & Martin Mycielski

David Frum – Atlantic Senior Editor

“We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States in decades.”

“If this were happening in Honduras, we would know what to call it. It is happening here instead, so we are baffled.”

“If the story ends without too much harm to the republic it won’t be because the dangers were imagined, but because citizens resisted.”

Also check out David Frum’s March 2017 Atlantic article “How to Build an Autocracy”.

Sarah Chayes – Author of “Thieves of State”

“We don’t get a democracy because God handed it down from the sky. We get a democracy because we demand it and we defend it and we insist on it.”

Sarah Chayes talks with NBC’s Richard Engel

Masha Gessen – Russian-American journalist, author, activist

Samantha Bee: “What is the recipe for successfully resisting an autocracy?”
Masha Gessen: “I had to flee my country … efforts to resist that I know of failed.”
SB: “Is there anything I personally can do to resist?”
MG: “…continue panicking…be the hysteric in the room…keep saying this is not normal.”

Also check out Masha Gessen’s November 2016 article “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” in The New York Review of Books and her follow-up article from a year later in The New Yorker.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D) – Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee

“We’re all going to be held to account one day for what we did when our democracy was under threat.”

Senator Jeff Flake (R)

(09/28/2018) Senator Flake just spouts a bunch of empty words. All empty words and no action. He could have forced the GOP to rein in Trump’s autocratic / kleptocratic tendencies. He could have forced the Senate to insist on reopening the investigation of Kavanaugh as called for by the ABA. He could have accomplished these things by withholding his votes until such reasonable demands were met. Instead, when he found himself in a position of immense power, he caved. Over and over and over again. Just another entitled good ole boy. – Chicken Afraido’s commentary on Senator Flake whom she kept hoping was a brave, patriotic American. But alas, no. Below are some of his empty words. (Note these comments were made on the morning of 9/28/2018 when it was reported that Flake had announced he would pass Kavanaugh out of committee without insisting on additional FBI investigation of a number of credible allegations of sexual assault. He later insisted that the FBI be given one week to investigate credible allegations and passed Kavanaugh out for a floor vote with that stipulation. So, a final verdict on Senator Flake’s character is pending.)

“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”
“We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, announcing that he will not seek re-election.

Dahlia Lithwick – Journalist covering courts and law for Slate

“I’d begun to suspect that the forces of chaos and nihilism that stand against Mueller’s project might swallow whatever outcomes he produced. The shocking norm-and-truth defiance of the GOP tax bill, the refusal of the GOP leadership to criticize or even comprehend the enormous violence done by Trump’s anti-Muslim tweets, the president’s staggering support for the candidacy of Roy Moore, the silent Republican collusion to the seating of demonstrably unfit judges, and the virulence of the White House’s attacks on the press all contributed to a general sense that absolutely everything was broken and that Democrats had lost whatever momentum they had to halt this chaos.”

“It seems as though truth and law are forever losing ground in the footrace against open looting and overt totalitarianism. The more abjectly deranged Trump’s behavior and the more Republicans in Congress cover for him, the less likely it is that anything Mueller can magic up in his underground hall of justice will matter.”

“By the time the Mueller train gets to its final station, the norms that would ordinarily lead to impeachment proceedings might be tiny piles of yellow legal pad–shaped cinders. And then it really would be time to take to the streets.”

Excerpts from:
“Is It Too Late for Robert Mueller to Save Us?” by Dahlia Lithwick Slate, 1 December 2017

Steven Levistsky and Daniel Ziblatt – Professors of government at Harvard

“The risk we face, then, is not merely a president with illiberal proclivities — it is the election of such a president when the guardrails protecting American democracy are no longer as secure.”

“American democracy is not in imminent danger of collapse. If ordinary circumstances prevail, our institutions will most likely muddle through a Trump presidency. It is less clear, however, how democracy would fare in a crisis. In the event of a war, a major terrorist attack or large-scale riots or protests — all of which are entirely possible — a president with authoritarian tendencies and institutions that have come unmoored could pose a serious threat to American democracy. We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.”

Excerpts from:
“Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?” by Steven Levistsky and Daniel Ziblatt
The New York Times, 16 December 2016

Kali Holloway and Martin Mycielski


“Nearly a year ago, intuitively recognizing the Trump administration’s authoritarian aspirations, Polish journalist and activist Martin Mycielski wrote “Year 1 Under Authoritarianism.” In those early, nerve-racking days following Trump’s inauguration, the piece was shared across social media, an ominous portent of what was to come.”

“They will smear opposition with trivial accusations, blowing them out of proportion and then feeding the flame. This is just smokescreen for the legal steps they will be taking toward totalitarianism.”

“Don’t let them divide you — remember you’re one people, one nation, with one common good.”

“And above all, be strong, fight, endure and remember you’re on the good side of history.”

“EVERY authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist regime in history eventually failed, thanks to the PEOPLE.”

Excerpts from:
“Increasingly Necessary: A 15-Point Guide to Surviving Authoritarianism” by Kali Holloway and Martin Mycielski
BillMoyers.com, 15 December 2017

See Also: “Year 1 under an authoritarian regime: What to Expect” by Martin Mycielski, 24 January 2017